Thousands of people each year travel to Sedona for a various number of reasons. One reason is to soak in the magic of the Red Rocks of Sedona and the infamous Sedona Vortex. Another reason is just to play, hike, shop, and relax. Whatever the reason you are going to Sedona, one thing is for sure. Staying in and around that area can be pricey. That’s where we have a guide for you.
Know this first. Most of what you are going to do in Sedona will be outdoors. From hiking, to ATV’s to 4 Wheelin in Jeep’s, you will be spending almost ALL your time outdoors. Having said that, why not camp outdoors and be where the action is. And there is A LOT of action.
You can stay less than 10 miles away from Sedona for FREE. OR, you can pay to stay IN Sedona for $150-$500 dollars a night. It’s up to you. So let’s take a look at the FREE.
Next to Sedona is the Coconino National Forest. So if you like camping, RVing, or Full Time Van Lifer, this is the place stay. Why? the Red Rock Ranger District borders Sedona and offers some of the wildest off road adventures you can find. From ponderosa pine forests to barren expanses of stark red rock, the Coconino National Forest is one of the most diverse forests in the country, and it offers lots of space for dispersed camping if you’re willing to look for it. Destinations like the Palatki Heritage Site or the Honanki Heritage Site and the best of all it’s all part of FREE Dispersed Camping. Dispersed camping in national forests is a great way to save money on your outdoor adventures. There are plenty of places to camp and pull your RV into. From Off Roading, to Hiking and Backpacking, to just driving to see the Ruins, why not just camp under the Sedona Stars?
Be sure to check with the National Forest Service district offices for advice and maps that will help you find the perfect spot to camp, and check in on any current regulations, like campfire restrictions. Also, remember, camping on BLM land means you will have no services such as a water or bathrooms. Come prepared to be self-reliant and always follow Leave No Trace Principles.
So how do you find such a place? Pretty easy actually.
From Sedona: Take Hwy. 89A through West Sedona and continue past the last traffic light for five miles. Just past mile marker 365, turn right onto Forest Road 525. Follow Forest Road 525. Right away you start seeing dispersed camping spots. But don’t stop. Keep going if you want a little more quite. 525 soon splits off to 525c. 525c has dispersed camping also. In fact, both 525 and 525c has sites that are huge to small all the way until the road ends. You are just gonna have to be patient and a little brave. (depending on the size of your RV).
WHAT TO KNOW: Dispersed Camping in the Coconino National Forest has a 14 day limit and it’s enforced. As we met Ranger Mike who made sure we were aware of it. Campfires are ok as long as there is no fire ban. The road can get a little rough so take it slow. Also, don’t be surprised if you have neighbors. We met other campers while on 525c and had a blast. In fact, we all made pot luck for Thanksgiving. Keep an open mind.
Cottonwood and Sedona are right next to the 525 Forest Road so getting water, propane and food is very easy to do. Cottonwood offers the cheapest propane and dump station so far at Galpin RV right on 89A. We think Cottonwood out performs Sedona in Food by the way. Another way you may save some money.